Sep 30, 2009
Sep 28, 2009
Sep 23, 2009
I was a little disappointed in the lack of weird, off the wall names. haha. The strangest I have this year (besides Lucifer and Wind) are guys named Fish, Constantine, Lock, and Bell. One girl names herself Kachisha. I told her it sounds Russian and she explained that she wants this name because her Chinese name is very simple and she wants a more interesting English name. haha. Kachusha.
In other news: Today I was planning to have dinner with some friends out at Huanglong Stadium. I stood by the street for over 30 minutes waiting for a taxi and finally gave up. I can't wait til I can ride my bike again, this foot is taking forever to heal, or even feel a tiny bit better. Working on it all day isn't helping. I think this is one time where my stubbornness may get the best of me.
Also, plans for the upcoming National Holiday have been bouncing around. Me and the infamous CREW planned to travel 40 hours by train each way to the Sichuan Province; home of pandas, spicy food, and word's most giant Buddha carved into a mountain side. Because Chi.na does not have their ticket system online (dumb) I waited in a line for over an hour only to be denied a ticket and yelled (kaui dian! "hurry up") at by the people waiting behind me. Oh Well. Because we are the CREW and are used to having 98547358974 itineraries for any given trip, we are now planning to escape to the island oasis of Xiamen. It is the gateway into T..a.i.won. Today's plan is to purchase a bus ticket. Hopefully this will go better than the train ticket attempt. haha. If not, I'm sure we will come up with something else just as awesome. We always do. It always works out. The plan for traveling constantly migrating country is to be as fluid as possible...rolling with the wind (or smog).
I have also given in and decided to drink the Chinese medicine given to us foreign teachers to prevent swine flu. Yesterday my throat was hurting and I felt weird. I knew if I got sick that they would ask me if I drank the "bittery" tea, so I gave in. I opened the plastic bag and emptied it into a ceramic bowl, warmed it in the microwave and drank it with a diet coke chaser. Not too bad. Cheers.
Things are rolling along. I've given up constant wonder for routine and I think I like it. I am glad to experience China in both ways. This week has reestablished my thought from last year that a person can do anything for a year, but it is after the wonder and newness subsides that the real test of survival begins. I like knowing Hangzhou like it is my home, like I belong here, and not like it is some exotic local that I just happen to be existing in temporarily.
I also found out today that the two new dude foreign teachers at my school are a couple. That makes me the only young, straight, non-super serious relationship (depending on the day) teacher under the age of 50. Awesome.
Things on the thesis-front are rather slow. I am hoping to be done with a draft by Wednesday, the day I go to Xiamen for a week. Let's see how that goes. Oh APA style, how you torture me. Those 4 years spent under the MLA doctrine at Flagler are of no help to me now that I am so close to my master's degree. It's ok, though, I am actually enjoying my thesis process, which I think is monumental to be able to admit. I love my thesis. whoooo Chinese babies galore.
babies, funny student names, interesting co-workers, travel plans on the horizon, life is good in the Red Country.
Sep 22, 2009
I think my heart leaves a trail of red dirt.
I am a consumed person since having traveled into the Red country.
Now all I can do is wallow around thinking and discussing and preaching and debating the country I cannot seem to purge from my veins.
It’s swimming, swimming in me.
Traveling from my heart in a linear motion to my feet.
And leaving a trail of red dirt wherever I go.
It’s either my ground up heart, or the remnants of China that are left behind.
It is strange how a place so far away could have ruined me, and yet
Made me come alive.
Could have changed my course forever and stolen my previous dreams.
It’s that red dirt.
Reminding me of people far away who I do not understand.
I’m drawn to the red dirt and I don’t know why.
But I will go.
Even if it scares me to death.
I'll live on the red dirt, because it is my purpose.
I think after all that China and I have been through these past 3 years, from planning and fundraising the trip to Ningxia with Intervarsity to having an address here, it has been a dream come true. Often I walk around thinking, 'why me, God?', 'why do I get this life?' 'why am I a 5'10" boisterous redhead in China?'
But most days when I walk outside and breathe in the smog, I know that this is it. This is what was meant to happen, even if it doesn't always make sense. What a beautiful feeling, huh? I hope that for everyone.
Today I had lunch with an old friend who happens to be a student at my university. He is the president of the student union (I'm not sure about that translation - though, how are there unions in China?) and I met him through another teacher last year.
We sat down eating aloe and milk soup (delish) and discussing his plans to go to America for graduate school. If all things go as planned, he will be a member of Yale's Class of 2012 graduate students.
We talked about his father's job in the government as an anti-corruption officer, his knowledge that as a Party member and because of his father's job he could become a "governor" easily, and about the differences in what Americans and Chinese hope for their future.
He was surprisingly introspective and even allowed me to express my differences in opinion about the Nobel Peace Prize designation to the Dalai. Lma. He was angry about it. I was indifferent but supportive. And we sat and slurped our soup.
And I thought to myself, 'thank you, Lord for this day, for these people, for different ideas and opinions, and for the chance to learn from this college student with big dreams. But mostly, thank you for aloe soup.'
Tonight two of the three doctors that I meet with each week came to my house. They brought me moon cakes for the upcoming Chinese National Holiday. I decided that I need to work on my "you shouldn't have!" face because whenever I gasp in excitement over a gift that is presented to me, Chinese people that that I don't like it. hmmmm.
We sat on my floor and talked about the Grand Canyon and poodles and boys and marriage and how I have been fat my whole life and my fractured foot. It was just like last year and felt like no time had passed. I remember the last time I saw them in the beginning of June I thought to myself, "what if something happens and I can't come back to China and I never see them again?" I was paranoid of this because I love these people with all my being. It was so nice to be reunited.
Here on the Red Dirt.
Sep 19, 2009
Sep 17, 2009
I now mostly sit in my apartment, pretending to work on my thesis, waiting for my foot to get better, and having multiple guests each day. I have been reminded how provided for I am here because there are many people who have brought me food, cared for me, called me daily, and expressed their love. It is weird, but I feel more community here in Hangzhou than at home through this experience. I am reminded that everywhere we go in life we will not be stranded. There are good people everywhere. I am so thankful for my Hangzhou friends who sit with me, laugh with me, and make fun of my lack of ability to walk on crutches.